WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Local leaders are calling Gov. Laura Kelly’s announcement of Integra Technologies’ $1.8 billion investment a critical first step to bringing a semiconductor plant to Wichita. They are stressing the fact nothing is guaranteed just yet.
“We’ve been working on this behind the scenes for years now,” Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple said.
Mayor Whipple was in Topeka Thursday to take part in Gov. Kelly’s announcement. The mayor tells KSN News that local leaders will continue to do their part to turn the concept of a 1 million square feet semiconductor plant into a reality.
“The amount of space that they plan on building is really just transformational for our economy, so it’s not easy to find that amount of space right off the bat, so we are working with our economic development team,” Mayor Whipple said.
Construction of the plant can only begin if federal CHIPS Act funding is approved. In order for Integra Technologies to apply for that funding, the company needs state and local incentive packages in place.
“You’re going to see things on our agenda in the future where we’re providing some support, not only written support but also probably some financial support to make sure that we get the CHIPS Act portion of this as we move forward,” Sedgwick County Commissioner David Dennis said.
While the state has put forth roughly $304 million in taxpayer-funded incentives over the next 10 years, both Sedgwick County and the City of Wichita are hammering out their respective plans for incentives packages, some of which are currently covered under non-disclosure agreements or NDA’s.
“There’ll probably be some infrastructure support, again, workforce training; we haven’t seen any of this yet,” Wichita City Council member Bryan Frye said.
“I haven’t specifically heard about a property tax abatement or anything like that, but that would be consistent with this type of project,” Wichita City Council member Jeff Blubaugh said.
As for clawbacks, city council members say it’s too early to tell what those could look like but are confident in their review process moving forward.
“On the city side, we tend to do reviews, whether it’s annually or on a five-year basis, to see if the job creation numbers that were projected were actually met,” Wichita City Council member Brandon Johnson said.
“It’s gonna take, you know, a few years before they’re ever producing anything,” Frye said. “This is a long-term project that’s gonna have a lot of ramifications.”